grape crush

concord grapes are still in season and covered in bees at the local greenmarket. we've seen lots of great inspirations of how to use them around town - jellies, sorbet and a wonderful cocktail at Gramercy Tavern. we used these delicious seasonal grapes last year in an amazing grape tart. this year we decided to try a cocktail, The Grape Crush. make the grape concentrate and simple syrup ahead of time and keep it in the fridge so you can whip up a cocktail whenever you feel the urge! hope everyone has a great weekend and a happy halloween!

The Grape Crush
serves 1

2 oz Hendricks gin
1 oz fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1 oz grape concentrate, see recipe below
2 tbs lemon simple syrup, see recipe below
4 oz soda water
in a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lime juice, grape concentrate, simple syrup and ice. shake well and strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. top with soda water, stir and enjoy.

Concord Grape Concentrate
1 lb concord grapes, stems removed
2 tbs lemon juice
combine grapes and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over high heat. cook, stirring frequently, until grapes release their juices, about 7 minutes. strain through a fine mesh sieve and cool completely.

Lemon Simple Syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1-inch zest of lemon
combine sugar, water and lemon in a small saucepan over high heat. bring to a boil and cook just until sugar is dissolved. remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. discard lemon zest and let syrup cool completely.



this recipe is an adaption of a brittle i discovered in an old issue of gourmet that i found when we were going through stacks of magazines before we moved. we are so disappointed in conde nast's decision to shut the doors of gourmet magazine and will definitely be missing our monthly inspiration, the stunning images and beautiful recipes. this brittle is a play on granola and gathers a lovely rich flavor from the combination of butter, oats and nuts - play with the combination to add your own favorite granola elements.

Maple Granola Brittle

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. on a baking sheet, spread out oats, almonds and sunflower seeds. toast for 15 minutes or until oats are pale golden, stirring often. transfer to a bowl and toss with dried cranberries.
line a baking sheet with a nonstick liner such as a silpat. in a heavy 5 quart saucepan, cook brown sugar, maple syrup, juice and salt, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture reaches 290 degrees F on a candy thermometer. stir in butter until melted and quickly add oat and nut mixture. immediately pour onto sheet pan and cover with a sheet of parchment. roll out brittle as thin as possible with a rolling pin. carefully peel off parchment and discard. cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. break into large pieces and enjoy! can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


two years

just a quick hello today as we are out & about celebrating our second wedding anniversary. my how two years has flown by since that amazing fall day in santa ynez. so many beautiful images to browse through from our fabulous photographer, jose villa. so many great memories and a big thank you to all our family & friends for sharing in such a special day!


spicy mustard

as promised, here is that spicy stout mustard that goes perfectly with all your fall comfort food - sausages & sauerkraut, homemade pretzels, warm toasty sandwiches, etc. who knew mustard was so easy to make? when we moved, we got to start fresh with a fridge empty of all condiments and thought it would be fun to try making most of the typical sauces from scratch. this is a nice grainy mustard with some kick but the flavor will mellow out the longer it sits in your fridge. enjoy!

Spicy Stout Mustard
makes 3 1/2 cups

1 12 oz bottle Guinness Extra Stout
10 oz brown mustard seeds
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs honey
1 tbs salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp turmeric
combine all ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl. cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 days. transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and puree, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. process until most of the seeds are coarsely ground and mixture thickens. transfer to jars and refrigerate for up to six months.


pork & more pork

fall is here! our favorite time of year for so many reasons but especially for the food. we've been dreaming of warming soups and stews. choucroute garni is an amazing Alsatian dish revolving around sauerkraut and pork, mmm. there are many specific ingredients that are supposed to be in the dish to make it authentic but we decided to put in what we had and what we like. it also involves making a bouquet garni, which sounds fancy, but is really just a combination of herbs and spices tied up in a cute bundle. make sure to serve this feast with a lovely spread of various mustards, pickles or picked vegetables, boiled potatoes with melted butter and your favorite imported beer or a glass of white wine. check back soon for a spicy homemade mustard recipe that would be a fun addition as well. enjoy!

Choucroute Garni
serves 8

3 bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
1/2 lb thick cut smoked bacon, cut in half
2 onions, cut into wedges
1 lb smoked pork butt, sliced 1-inch thick
4 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
375ml dry white wine
4 smoked pork sausages such as kielbasa
4 veal and pork sausages such as bratwurst
place bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and fennel seeds in a small square of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with kitchen twine. heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. add bacon and cook until crisp and most of the fat is rendered. remove and set aside. add onions and cook 5 minutes until translucent. add pork butt and sauerkraut and fill with white wine. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 45 minutes. using the tip of a pairing knife poke a few holes in each sausage to prevent them from bursting. add to the dutch oven with the reserved bacon, cover and cook until heated through, about 20 minutes. heat a large skillet over medium high heat and transfer sausages to skillet. cook about 5 minutes per side or until nicely browned. drain sauerkraut and arrange on a serving platter. add sausages, pork butt and bacon and serve.


french toast

things have been so busy! we missed posting on our year blog anniversary - can't believe how quickly a year of posting went by and we really love all the new friends we've made. also want to wish the "pictures" of pictures & pancakes a happy belated birthday - we had a wonderful new york day wandering the city, enjoying a cup of Stumptown coffee at the new Ace Hotel, a lovely dinner here and cocktails here.

other than that, we've been on a little french toast kick . . . does two sunday mornings in a row qualify as a kick? i think so. there are some amazing bakeries in this city and i actually just worked on a bread cookbook (details to come) with two amazing women - photographer susie cushner and stylist randi brookman harris. baked my buns off (hee hee) for 5 days straight but fell in love with carbs again. french toast is such a quick easy treat - change the recipe to make it your own with different breads, spices and sauces and let me know what your new favorite combination is! we used this blueberry sauce which is also great on pancakes. enjoy!

Brioche French Toast
serves 2

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 slices brioche loaf, 3/4-inch thick
confectioner's sugar & butter for garnish
in a baking dish, combine eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon and salt. place 2 slices of brioche in mixture and let sit for 2 minutes or until bread soaks up some of the liquid but is not soggy. turn over and heat a griddle over medium high heat. cook each slice for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. repeat with remaining slices. serve with a light dusting of confectioner's sugar, softened butter and blueberry sauce.